Kabardian, East Circassian in Russia

Map Source:  People Group location: IMB. Map geography: ESRI / GMI. Map design: Joshua Project.
People Name: Kabardian, East Circassian
Country: Russia
10/40 Window: No
Population: 582,000
World Population: 2,027,500
Primary Language: Kabardian
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 2.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.02 %
Scripture: New Testament
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Caucasus
Affinity Bloc: Eurasian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Kabardians exist as the largest surviving 'tribe' of the northwestern Caucasus' Circassian language family. (The Adyghe are the other surviving Circassian major people group in the Caucasus.) In an earlier era, the Kabardians practiced an eclectic blend of pagan/Christian/Islamic religious practices, venerating sacred trees, mountains, horses, fire, and a pantheon of gods. They venerate a "Tree of Life," its seven sets of branches woven to form a skyward arrow, as a monument to the victims of the century-long Russo-Circassian wars that ended in 1864. The Kabardian’s ability to survive is unbelievable, considering the Circassians' epic devastation and the tragic expulsion/emigration/destruction of ninety percent of their population from their homelands in Russia. So now, every Kabardian wedding, where a “Tree of Life” is venerated by the groom and bride, represents future hope for a people who came so dangerously close to ethnic extermination.

What Are Their Lives Like?

For all their past plights, Kabardians embody remarkable aspects of human beauty and strength. If a people's proverbs reveal their cultural values, attentive hospitality certainly ranks high. One can find a hundred folk sayings on the sacred duties of host-guest relationships in Kabardian "khabze," that is, their traditional norms of behavior or customary protocol. For example, "A guest is a messenger from God." Or "The guest of a Kabardian is as safe as if protected by a fortress."
The Kabardians honor their elders and those with recognized status. They train their youth to serve and defer to elders.
Yet this precious people possess darkened hearts like all human beings. They practice a culture of blood revenge that is equal to hospitality as a cultural value. Once characterized by folk Islam, their youth’s growing attraction to radical Islam plagues the Kabardians.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Kabardians practice folk Islam which includes traditional beliefs and values.

What Are Their Needs?

The Kabardian need workers to share the gospel in the Kabardian language and culture.

Prayer Points

Pray that against this backdrop, the 75-100 scattered Kabardian believers can shine as lights. Pray for love, boldness, unity and vision.
Pray for the circulation of translated Scriptures, Audio Bibles, audio recordings and the JESUS Film into Kabardian cultural circles.
Pray that spiritual barriers that have kept the gospel from advancing would be broken down.
Pray for a reproducing, culturally relevant Kabardian church – that Jesus can be seen as 'fully dressed in Kabardian clothes.'

Text Source:   Joshua Project